Monday, August 22, 2011

Raising Kids in an Ungrateful World

My kids playing at Pump it Up

I don't understand some things that I hear from people, or kids sometimes.  Every now and then I will hear my kids gripe about something and I have to remind them how good they really have it.  

"Mom, so and so has it so good because they have that game system or they have a better bike."

My mouth will drop open because I look around me and see so much blessing.  I tell them, "You are so blessed!  You have a mom that will stay at home to raise you. I'm here all day from the time you wake up till I kiss you goodnight.  We have a house, 3 vehicles, animals.  You have parents that love God and are faithful to church.  You have nice clothes, shoes, toys.  You have food in the cupboard.  Bikes, skates, skateboard.  You have dad that comes home every day after a hard day of work.  Because of his hard work we can have all this.  PLUS, (bonus here) he's a good dad that actually loves you and loves to spend time with you. "

Ryan playing with his baby brother Caleb
We could of had it so much harder. I could have wanted to have more money to spend so I could've put them in daycare all day.  I could've been a drunk of a mom that sometimes didn't come home.  Or they could've had a dad that was a drunk or had drug issues.  Or had no dad at all!  We could be a family that raises our kids with no moral values or been parents that pretend to live right but are just good actors in public.  Sometimes when kids grow up in a good church and a stable home, it's easy to take things for granted when you are so incredibly sheltered.  

Chaz (jumping) trying to jump up wall
I was brainwashed in my school growing up because they told me over and over I had it so hard. We didn't have a TV and we weren't allowed to listen to 92.3 because it was an incredibly perverted radio station.  Poor me. Poor me that I grew up loving to read books and play 5 different instruments.  Poor me that I had a dad that would work his butt off to support us.  We weren't "rich" by any means at all but we had parents that loved God with all their hearts.  They took very good care of us.  Not only did they love God, but they lived it.  In public AND in private.  Man, was I completely sheltered in that blessing.  Sadly, I was soooo ungrateful because the school told me over and over that not having a TV was abuse.  When they said we could get extra credit to read books, I got the max amount.  I LOVED to read.  I played outside with kids, rode my bike, played in the orchestra band and jazz band.  Played basketball at school and took up sports with my friends in the neighborhood.  My dad came home from work with a smile on his face even though it was obvious he was exhausted.  I hate the fact that I looked down on them because of wicked words spoken in my ears by others. 

Kyle flying down fast slide
I regret that I didn't GET IT till I was older. That it took me having my own family, finances, obligations, and having to live out my own faith to finally realize what a HUGE gift they gave me.  How do you say thank you in more than just words?  

The answer to giving my kids a happy life is not how many game systems and toys I can buy my kids.  The answer is not going to get that second income so we can have a bigger house, better cars.  I'm no fool.  I wasn't raised in a rich home materialistically but instead a home rich with love, friendship, and great memories of fellowship, games, and fun wrestling matches.  Sometimes I dread Christmas because I don't like the idea of my kids thinking Christmas might be bigger this year (as they hope every year).  But whether we make a lot of a little, we determined a few year back each of our kids would only get 3 presents.  Christmas isn't about the material things and that's what we initially made it.  I regretted it seeing them just "expect" a big Christmas each year.  

Any adventures we do as a family is because we find free events or low cost ones.  But we DO get out and have lots of fun.  It doesn't have to be HUGE vacations.   All 3 events we did in the last week cost us nothing out of pocket (Skating rink, Science Center, and Pump it Up shown in pictures).  It's not the cost that makes the difference, it's about spending time together.

Is love measured by the wallet?  Nope.  If ONLY America would get that.  We can't expect kids to get it if parents can't either.
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